Optical Observations Of The Type Ic Supernova 2007 gr In NGC 1058
We present extensive optical observations of the normal Type Ic supernova (SN) 2007gr, spanning from about one week before maximum light to more than one year thereafter. The optical light and color curves of SN 2007gr are very similar to those of the broad-lined Type Ic SN 2002ap, but the spectra show remarkable differences. The optical spectra of SN 2007gr are characterized by unusually narrow lines, prominent carbon lines, and slow evolution of the line velocity after maximum light. The earliest spectrum (taken at t = -8 days) shows a possible signature of helium (He I lambda 5876 at a velocity of similar to 19,000 km s(-1)). Moreover, the larger intensity ratio of the [O I] lambda 6300 and lambda 6364 lines inferred from the early nebular spectra implies a lower opacity of the ejecta shortly after the explosion. These results indicate that SN 2007gr perhaps underwent a less energetic explosion of a smaller-mass Wolf-Rayet star (similar to 8-9 M-circle dot) in a binary system, as favored by an analysis of the progenitor environment through pre-explosion and post-explosion Hubble Space Telescope images. In the nebular spectra, asymmetric double-peaked profiles can be seen in the [O I] lambda 6300 and Mg I] lambda 4571 lines. We suggest that the two peaks are contributed by the blueshifted and rest-frame components. The similarity in velocity structure and the different evolution of the strength of the two components favor an aspherical explosion with the ejecta distributed in a torus or disk-like geometry, but inside the ejecta the O and Mg have different distributions.